The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
May 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, 1978.
How The Other Half Loves
by Alan Ayckbourn
Alan Upton – Frank Foster
Jean Porter – Fiona Foster
Roger Job – Bob Phillips
Miranda Bowen – Terry Phillips
Tim Cara – William Featherstone
Jeanette Goode – Mary Featherstone
Set Design – George Porter
Stage Manager – Peter Joyce
Assistant – Margaret Ockenden
Lighting – Andrew Theaker
Properties – Frances Thorne
Properties – Margaret Davy
Front of House – Frances Moulton
Programme Note #1: How The Other Half Loves
GP wrote: “If you’re going to do a situation comedy why not start with a really bizarre situation – why not mix up the Foster’s and the Phillips’ houses on the same stage – two in one so to speak! And why not play tricks with time so that we can see events on Thursday and Friday at the same time!
With such ingenuity Ayckbourn provides himself with a superb background to play out a series of hilarious situations. He is a master of the comedy of everyday speech. Ayckbourn’s situations need good team work and casting. I hope we’ve found the right balance and that you will be vastly entertained by these ‘odd Ayckbourn people'”.
Programme Note #2: How The Other Half Loves
How The Other Half Loves sees a welcome return to the Barn stage of Jean Porter, Alan Upton and Miranda Bowen, all of whom have been away from acting for some time.
Jean’s last appearance was a lead in the Marquise, Noël Coward’s play so enjoyed by all. Behind the scenes Jean was hard at work to direct the tremendous success, My Fair Lady.
Miranda was last seen in The Secretary Bird some three years ago. In the meantime a house move back into Southwick and a growing family meant little time for the boards. We welcome her return.
Jeanette Goode joined us early last year and a resounding success in Barretts of Wimpole Street. Since then Jeanette has proved her back stage uses in putting the youngsters through their dancing paces for Where the Rainbow Ends.
Alan Upton is well remembered for his Felix in The Odd Couple and Tim Cara was in the last Wick production of Rainbow.
Roger Job has appeared regularly in our plays, he was in Intent to Murder and the earlier Ayckbourn.
George Porter is one of a small band of directors, within the company and has had many notable successes.
Every one connected to the play has had a lot of enjoyment and it is hoped that you will too.
Publicity #1: How The Other Half Loves
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: April 28 1978 issue – page 2
Text Header: “Wick has second stab at Ayckbourn play”
WICK THEATRE COMPANY takes its second stab at an Alan Ayckbourn play with How the Other Half Loves, at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, from May 2 to 6. Producer George Porter will be looking to repeat the success of Relatively Speaking and should have little difficulty with one of Wick’s specialities – a comedy requiring a small, but tightly-knit cast.
The play involves three couples with two of them sharing the stage and the third invited to dinner by each of the other two. The outcome is two dinners on stage at the same time, although Ayckbourn has adjusted the clock because one dinner is really on Thursday and the other Friday!
Playing hosts to the confusion are Alan Upton, Jean Porter, Roger Job and Miranda Bowen. The guests are Tim Cara and Jeanette Goode.
Review #1: How The Other Half Loves
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: May 5 issue 1978 – page 2
Reviewer: Frank Horsley
Text Header: “A production of rare brilliance”
A LARGE first night audience at the Barn Theatre, Southwick, on Tuesday revelled in an evening of rare brilliance and humour. It came by courtesy of Alan Ayckbourn and Wick Theatre Company who were surely made for one another, judging by Wick’s handling of How the Other Half Loves.
Wick’s second attempt at an Ayckbourn play is easily the company’s funniest production since the halcyon days of The Odd Couple and When We Were Married, and a great technical achievement. Ayckbourn devotees will already know the How the Other Half Loves is no ordinary situation comedy and a stern test for any cast – but director George Porter and his team emerges with first class honours.
The action takes place on a ‘schizophrenic’ set with two households portrayed simultaneously and opens with two couples talking over breakfast. With his great feel for the inanities of every day conversation, Ayckbourn builds up the tension in masterly fashion as the Foster’s and the Phillips’ take it in turns to speak – just like jazz musicians trading four bar passages. It gradually emerges that Bob Phillips and Fiona Foster are having an affair, and both exploit a third couple as their excuse for staying out the night before. That couple is the hilarious Featherstone’s who end up being invited to dinner at both houses on successive nights – but Ayckbourn ingeniously blurs the time lag so that they eat the two dinners at the same time. The comic possibilities are endless and get the full treatment from a superbly disciplined Wick comedy line-up. Showing remarkable timing, they rattle through the complicated exchanges with hardly a slip and bring out every quirk in Ayckbourn’s strange characters.
Alan Upton – outstanding as Felix in The Odd Couple – produces another ‘tour de force’ as the twee Frank Foster, rambling on delightfully and producing most of the confusion in a chaotic second act. But the most hilarious moments are provided by Tim Cara who strikes some brilliant poses as the awkward William Featherstone and gives his best Wick performance to date. Jeanette Goode, playing his timid wife Mary, shows she is not just an excellent choreographer and dancer, but well versed in all aspects of stage craft, and the assured Roger Job does a nice line in male chauvinism as Bob Phillips. Jean Porter [Fiona Foster] and Miranda Bowen [Terry Phillips] belie the fact that they have been away from acting for some time, by completing the six-way confusion in admirable style.
How the Other Half Loves continues at the Barn Theatre tonight [Friday] and tomorrow.
Review #2: How The Other Half Loves
Publication: Brighton & Hove Gazette
Publication Data: Unknown
Text Header: “How the Other Half Loves”
TAKING up the threads of the fiendishly ingenious plot of Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy of marriage How the Other Half Loves is like trying to unravel three tangled balls of wool. They get hopelessly entwines, but gradually a pattern emerges. Two dinner parties held on consecutive evenings are dovetailed into each other. Ayckbourn plays with time and space to create the two households. A hilarious maze of misunderstanding was fully knit in the Wick Theatre Company’s production.
Ayckbourn’s characters reflect the social conventions: the Daily Mail couple in their ultra-chintzy home, and the liberal Guardian readers in their house lined with whitewood shelves. A third pair of marrieds display a gormlessness that makes a splendid foil to the affair between the chintzy wife and the liberal husband. Alan Upton as Frank, the man who runs his home like a board meeting, was delightfully doddery. Jean Porter radiated true blue living as his wife Fiona, with hints of her inner despair at knowing she is just an item on her husband’s agenda.
Roger Job gave a taut, forthright portrayal of liberal breadwinner sowing his wild oats – and reaping his wife’s wrath. Miranda Bowen, as his wife Terry gave a fine characterisation of a wife seemingly beaten but emerging triumphant to reclaim her marriage. Tim Cara very effectively submerged himself into the rôle of the rough but ambitious William. It was a comic performance just short of caricature. Jeanette Goode as the guileless wife Mary nicely underplayed her part to suggest a simple soul dragged up the social ladder.
I have nothing but praise for director George Porter. His sense of timing and use of space was a joy, but above all he had the grasp of the little human tragedies that are never far under the surface of the play. He also designed the clever set.
The Wick has ended its season with distinction.